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ELI studentsAmericus is a small city located in the southwest part of Georgia (in the southeastern part of the United States). The weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool and dry during the winter. The average daytime temperature during the summer is about 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit (28-32 degrees Celsius) and 55-60 degrees (12-15 degrees) in the winter. Light coats are usually sufficient for winters in southwest Georgia. Shirts with short sleeves and short pants are most comfortable for summer.

Suggestions for what to bring to the United States

  • Comfortable clothing—Students usually dress casually in class.
  • Book bag
  • Umbrella
  • Medical records
  • Extra glasses or contact lenses
  • Favorite books, tapes, videos, CDs
  • Pictures of family and friends
  • Camera
  • Nonperishable food from your country
  • Sheets, blankets, and/or comforters
  • Formal clothes—There may be times when you will need to dress nicely.
  • Clothes, pictures, books, and souvenirs from your country—These things can be used when you want to talk to others about your country.
  • Towels, washcloths
  • Traveler’s checks—It isn’t good to carry a lot of cash when you travel.
  • International driver’s license
  • Telephone card—So you can call home easily.

Many of these items can also be purchased at stores in Americus after arrival. It may be better to bring a small number/amount of items and then buy more after you arrive. The key is to bring as much as you may need but not to bring too many things that you can buy here easily. You will be able to go shopping to buy things you need soon after you arrive in Americus. Your first month may be a little expensive because you may have to buy many things. 
A good suggestion is to prepare a box of things to send by mail before you leave home. After you arrive at GSW and are given a mailbox address, then you can contact someone at home and have him or her send you the box. Boxes can be sent by air or ship. Sending by air takes 1-2 weeks and is more expensive. Sending by ship takes 1-3 months and is cheaper. This is a good way to send clothes for the next season. For example, if you will arrive in August, you can send winter clothes by mail. 

It is a good idea to have your home address and an American address (English Language Institute, Georgia Southwestern State University, 800 Wheatley St., Americus, GA 31709) in all of your bags. It is also a good idea to have some clothes in your carry-on bags so that if your other bags are lost, you will be able to survive for a few days. 

The English Language Institute provides a pick-up service if you arrive at the Columbus, Georgia airport. If you want to be picked up, you should notify us at least two weeks before your arrival date. Call, fax, or e-mail your arrival time and flight number to us. It is usually best if students plan to arrive 1-2 days before registration/orientation. Contact ELI for arrival dates.


Travel Information After Arrival in the U.S.

  1. Planning is the key to avoiding unexpected delays. Plan what you will need for your trip several weeks in advance. This way, you will not be stressed out at the last minute.
  2. Make sure you have the following items when you travel:
    • Passport (passport must be valid for at least 6 months)
    • U. S. Visa
    • Signed I-20
    • New financial documents (less than 90 days old)
    It is recommended that you make several copies of all your important travel documents. This includes all of the 1-20s you've been issued (from every school you have attended) and the pages in your passport showing your picture, birth date, passport number, expiration dates, visa and 1-94 card. Keep one set of copies in your carry-on luggage, one set in your checked baggage and leave a set at home preferably with someone who can send them to you if needed.
  3. Have your Designated School Official sign your I-20.  Do not wait until the last minute! Go to get the signature 2-3 days before you plan to travel.
  4. If you need a transcript for traveling purposes, you will need to request one from the Office of the Registrar. It typically takes about two days to have your request processed.
  5. If you need to request a "Verification of Enrollment" from the Registrar's Office. A verification letter states you are currently enrolled as a student at Georgia Southwestern State University. It typically takes approximately two business days to process your request.
  6. If you are traveling outside the United States
    • Check the visa (for the United State) in your passport to learn if it has expired. If so, you will have to apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to have it renewed before returning to the United States. (see directions for applying or renewing a visa on Visa Information page)
    • If you have changed your visa status to F-1 in the United States, you must apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate before returning to the United States. Remember, you are currently in "F-1 status" but you do not have an "F-1 visa."
    • If you are traveling outside the United States to a country other than your home country, call the embassy of that country to learn if you need a visa to enter that country. If so, inquire about the requirements, cost and time frame needed to apply for a visa. Keep in mind that it often takes 2-3 weeks (or longer) to process a visa application.
  7. Get current "Financial Support Documents" from your financial sponsor. You may be asked to show them to immigration officials at the airport/border when you return to the United States. You will also need updated or recent financial support documents if you plan to apply for or renew your visa.
  8. If you are traveling in the United States, make sure to carry your original passport and I-20 with you at all times. You will need to present these documents should you be stopped by any government official (police, border patrols, immigration officers, etc).
  9. Have a safe trip and a great time! We look forward to welcoming you back to GSW!!!

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